Kankowski relishes Bok chance
Edinburgh – Is Ryan Kankowski suited to rugby at the highest level or a show pony that is only effective in Super rugby and the Currie Cup?
That is a question that is yet to be answered in spite of 16 Tests behind Kankowski’s name.
Win: A set of Dunlop tyres
It must be added that Kankowski has not really had an opportunity to settle in the Springbok team, which is why his inclusion in the South African side for Saturday’s Test against Scotland at Murrayfield is as interesting as it is unexpected.
There are few loose forwards that are as explosive as Kankowski, but at international level physical presence and a good work-rate are often of critical interest.
“John Plumtree worked hard with me on tightening up, but I could also play to my strengths. He told me that I should be more physical if I could,” Kankowski said on Tuesday.
“I can’t always leave it to Willem Alberts and had to bring something new to my game. He (Plumtree) was satisfied and hopefully I can build on that now.
“Maybe this is a test for me and hopefully I can pass it with flying colours.”
Kankowski is obviously delighted about the opportunity against the Scots.
“It’s a great opportunity and you can never take playing for the Boks for granted. You have to grab every opportunity and I’m looking forward to it.
“Our training did not differ this week from any other. Maybe I can bring something new, but we’ll have to wait and see what happens. A lot can depend on the weather. I’m just looking forward to the opportunity of playing and doing my best.”
Indications are also that South Africa want to keep the ball in hand more from the outset.
They kicked a lot in the first half against Wales.
“Neville Heilbron (a laws advisor) gave us the statistic that 90% of penalties go against the defensive team. The laws are working in favour of the attacking side,” said Kankowski.
“It helped me at the Sharks that we kept the ball in hand. The guys believed in themselves and wanted to use the ball. Hopefully I can help bring that to the side this weekend.”
It’s also a rare opportunity for Kankowski to be able to show what he can do from the outset.
“You can’t blame the coach for picking players that perform well,” said Kankowski when asked about the issue of playing second fiddle.
“We have brilliant loose forwards. Juan Smith is the hard man and Deon Stegmann does good work as a fetcher. All I can do is to hopefully bring something new and fresh to the game. Hopefully it’s what the coach wants.”